Bilton School is put in special measures

Bilton School NNL-160903-093041001
Bilton School NNL-160903-093041001

A damning Ofsted report has put Bilton School in special measures after inspectors found a catalogue of failures at the secondary school.

In an inspection carried out on February 3 and 4, the school, rated good in its last full Ofsted, was inadequate in four out of five key areas - the only exception being 16 to 19 study programmes, which were labelled good.

The new report had a summary of key findings for parents and pupils which listed ten key reasons why it rated the school inadequate.

These included:

- Standards of achievement have fallen dramatically since the last inspection and leaders have failed to take urgent action to halt the decline.

- Pupils do not behave well in many lessons, so that teachers cannot teach and pupils cannot learn. Leaders’ checks on lessons have failed to identify this as a problem.

- Incidents of bullying are frequent. Pupils have no confidence in staff to deal with bullying.

- Pupils, including pupils with special educational needs or disability and the most able, underachieve in many subjects, including English, mathematics and science, because they do not make enough progress.

- Teachers’ planning is weak so that the most-able pupils find the work too easy and the least-able pupils struggle and give up.

Only two strengths were identified, the sixth form and the placements in alternative provision for some pupils.

The report said: “Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.”

The school is then given a range of measures to take to improve: to improve teaching for all pupils, to improve behaviour, to ‘urgently’ reduce the prevalence of bullying and to improve the effectiveness of leadership and management at all levels.

The detail offers glimmers of hope with some of the teaching praised, a reduction in exclusions, an improvement in attendance and good careers advice.

But against these are other details which highlight the need for action. These include, ‘Bullying is rife across Key Stages 3 and 4’, ‘Weak teaching and pupils’ poor behaviour reduce the progress that all pupils make’, ‘Outcomes for pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 have declined considerably since the previous inspection and leaders have not taken urgent and decisive action to reverse the trend’ – and more.

One issue highlighted at the inspection was turnover of staff with the report recording: “There has been a high turnover of teaching staff in recent years. Approximately one third of teachers were new to Bilton in September 2015. More teachers are due to leave this year.”

The school made the full report available on its website on Tuesday, along with a letter from headteacher Patsy Weighill and a detailed document, ‘Bilton School Factual Accuracy Response’. It is also holding a parents’ information evening on April 6 to present the action plan it is putting forward to Ofsted next week.

Mrs Weighill’s letter urges parents to “read the report very carefully as there are some lovely comments as well as some areas for us to really focus on to drive improvements forward.”

She adds: “There have been a lot of changes nationally that have impacted on exam results and we saw a big dip last year at Bilton but Ofsted acknowledged that we are taking steps to address this.

“Our projections are strong again for this year. Sadly, though, they are projections and the Ofsted team cannot make judgements on outcomes students have not achieved yet.”

She outlined the changes already under way that weren’t in full force when the inspectors visited but stressed the determination to regain a good rating quickly with a longer-term aim to become, ‘a world-class school’.

And in vowing to keep parents up-to-date with progress, she stressed: “We need to make sure that all students achieve their best in all subjects.”